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Leveraging image variables in Photoshop CS3

From: Dreamweaver CS3 Beyond the Basics

Video: Leveraging image variables in Photoshop CS3

We have been talking about the integration between Dreamweaver, Photoshop and Bridge and how that can speed up your workflow. Well, when you have images like the one we are using where you have got multiple options that change, this name changes, that background changes, having to go back into Photoshop and change those manually can be pretty time- consuming. So I want to explore something briefly in Photoshop that allows us to automate that process, and to do that I am going to use the same technique we used earlier which is to select the ad and click Edit in Photoshop on our Properties inspector and that will launch our ad back up. And what I want to talk about now is the use of variables inside of Photoshop and Photoshop allows you to automate your image generating process by tying different states of layers to variables and the easiest way to describe this is just to show it to you. So if I go up to the menu and I go to Image and I go to Variables, notice that I have an area right here where I can define those variables. So I am going to go ahead and do that. Now in our file, if I click on the pulldown menu here for Layer, you can see that all of our layers are available to us to actually assign variable values to that. And we are going to do that. I am going to go up to the first layer that has Danny Key's name, Dan Keys, click on that and I am going to establish a variable.

Leveraging image variables in Photoshop CS3

We have been talking about the integration between Dreamweaver, Photoshop and Bridge and how that can speed up your workflow. Well, when you have images like the one we are using where you have got multiple options that change, this name changes, that background changes, having to go back into Photoshop and change those manually can be pretty time- consuming. So I want to explore something briefly in Photoshop that allows us to automate that process, and to do that I am going to use the same technique we used earlier which is to select the ad and click Edit in Photoshop on our Properties inspector and that will launch our ad back up. And what I want to talk about now is the use of variables inside of Photoshop and Photoshop allows you to automate your image generating process by tying different states of layers to variables and the easiest way to describe this is just to show it to you. So if I go up to the menu and I go to Image and I go to Variables, notice that I have an area right here where I can define those variables. So I am going to go ahead and do that. Now in our file, if I click on the pulldown menu here for Layer, you can see that all of our layers are available to us to actually assign variable values to that. And we are going to do that. I am going to go up to the first layer that has Danny Key's name, Dan Keys, click on that and I am going to establish a variable.

Notice that when you look at the Variable Type section, you can either set the variable to affect the layer visibility or you can actually, since it is a text layer, replace the text. Well, I am going to choose Text Replacement and I need to come up with a variable name for this. So I am going to highlight the name of this and I am just going to go ahead and call it artistName because that's the variable. It's the name of the artist. So this is the name of the variable itself obviously and not the text that it is going to replace it with. You will notice that now in our Layer menu that Dan Keys now has an asterisk up besides his name and that indicates that the variable has been associated with that layer. Now I am going to click on this to go through some of my other layers and I notice that I have a layer here called Jen and that includes the background for Jennifer Loman. So I am going to click on that and I am going to click on the Visibility variable and I am actually just going to call this jenBack for Jennifer Loman's background. And I am going to go through each of the layers that contain an image, so I will click benBack and then I will click on Danny's and I will call that one danBack. Now this is all well and good and what we are doing here is we are establishing these variables so I can create data sets that allow me to switch quickly and easily between Danny and Jennifer and Ben and that sort of thing and just make it easier for myself. The problem here though is that what if I want to assemble images at runtime? What if I wanted to bring these in from another file? Maybe I have multiple backgrounds and I don't want to spend the time of assembling them inside this file? Well, you will notice that I have an empty layer called imageImport and I am going to select that imageImport and on this imageImport any background graphic for another artist that we haven't already defined, I can bring that in. So you will notice that because this is not a text layer, instead of saying Text Replacement, it says Pixel Replacement. So I will click on Pixel Replacement and I am just going to call this artist. Actually, you know what? I will just call it newBackground. That will make sense. Now when I see the method down here of bringing this artwork in, notice that you can force it to fit, which actually can cause distortion. You can fill it, starting from whichever reference point you give it. It will fill all the available space. You can have As Is or a Conform. I am going to choose As Is because we are making sure that we have our backgrounds the exact size of this image so we can just bring them in as is. I can also choose how they are aligned and I am going to align them by their top left edge. So I will click for alignment, I will click right there at top left edge. So these are all our variables. You will notice that we are just defining variables at this point. We are not actually assigning any values to them. So I am going to click OK and nothing changes in our file because we haven't actually applied any data sets and that's the next step. So let's go up to Image, Variables and let's look at our data sets. Right now, we don't have any data set. So just establishing the variables is step one. Step two is to actually define a Data Set. So I will come in and I will do a new data set. And there is a Create new data set icon up here towards the top, I will click on that and I am going to go ahead and call this data set Dan Keys because it is going to correspond with the artist Dan Keys. So, notice that now I have access in this data set to all those variables that we just created. So I will take the artist name and that won't change. For Dan Set, it is going to be Dan Keys.

I will go to Ben's background and I will make sure that the value for Invisibility is turned on so that it is not visible. And I will do the same thing for Danny's background. I will make sure it is visible, I will make sure Jen's is Invisible. Now the layer that we specified that we are going to have new graphics come in on. Notice that when you select on newBackground you have the option of selecting a file, importing the external file or not replacing it at all and in this case, we are going to choose Do Not Replace. So now that we have done that, I just need to repeat that a couple of more times to create data sets for each of our artists. So the second one will be Jennifer Loman and once you do this the first time, going through it is pretty quick because now I can just go to artistName and I can change the value to Jennifer Loman. Now that's going to go to our Text layer and it is going to replace the existing text, which is Dan Keys, with Jennifer Loman and I will keep going. I will go through benBack, make sure it is Invisible, I will take danBack and switch it to Invisible and then I will take jenBack and I will switch that to Visible.

And by the way, if you were paying attention, you would notice that over on the left-hand side our image has actually changed and that's because I have the Preview checkbox here. So as you are building a data set, you can actually watch the image assemble. And we will keep newBackground as Do Not Replace. We will do one more for Ben Wilson. And we will go ahead and establish Ben's name, make sure his background is turned on. Make sure that Danny's and Jennifer's is turned off. And again, we will make sure the background, the newBackground, is not replacing. So we have now established all these data sets. When I click OK, now changing our image is just as easy as going up to Image > Apply Data Set.

I have had three Data Sets in here. They are all based on these variable values and if I click on Jennifer Loman, you will notice the image changes to Jennifer Loman and if I click on Ben Wilson, you will notice that the information changes to Ben Wilson. So each month I can just come in here, click at different data set and I go ahead and get that. Now that was pretty quick and pretty easy and in our next movie, I am going to show how you can externalize these variables and then load them up at runtime as you need them.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Dreamweaver CS3 Beyond the Basics
Dreamweaver CS3 Beyond the Basics

102 video lessons · 38725 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
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  1. 2m 3s
    1. Welcome
      1m 17s
    2. Using the exercise files
      46s
  2. 1h 23m
    1. Reviewing the Coding toolbar
      8m 42s
    2. Customizing the Coding toolbar
      9m 52s
    3. Taking advantage of Code Hinting
      7m 20s
    4. Using snippets and shortcuts
      11m 10s
    5. Using the Quick Tag Editor
      5m 18s
    6. Using Find and Replace
      9m 50s
    7. Regular expressions
      5m 39s
    8. Using Bridge with Dreamweaver CS3
      8m 28s
    9. Round-trip editing with Photoshop CS3
      3m 40s
    10. Leveraging image variables in Photoshop CS3
      7m 32s
    11. Integrating external variables into your workflow
      6m 16s
  3. 37m 26s
    1. Understanding the CSS Styles panel
      7m 59s
    2. Understanding the Cascade
      5m 50s
    3. Understanding Inheritance
      5m 8s
    4. Understanding Specificity
      7m 5s
    5. Managing CSS styles
      5m 4s
    6. Using Design-Time style sheets
      6m 20s
  4. 2h 19m
    1. Using the new CSS template pages
      5m 59s
    2. Understanding DIV tag structure and layout
      12m 0s
    3. Understanding the CSS box model
      10m 0s
    4. Using absolute and relative positioning
      8m 35s
    5. Understanding floating elements
      7m 9s
    6. Clearing floats
      7m 19s
    7. Using floats to control page layout
      3m 45s
    8. Building structure and assigning IDs
      10m 19s
    9. Applying basic styling to structured content
      11m 14s
    10. Positioning container elements
      11m 4s
    11. Enhancing layouts with background graphics
      11m 48s
    12. Creating faux columns with background graphics
      8m 55s
    13. Creating rounded corners with background graphics
      9m 17s
    14. Building navigation with CSS
      16m 57s
    15. Using Dreamweaver's Browser Check feature
      5m 31s
  5. 53m 22s
    1. Creating properly structured forms
      6m 30s
    2. Creating accessible forms
      6m 41s
    3. Using CSS to lay out form structure
      7m 40s
    4. Creating vertical columns for form elements
      7m 48s
    5. Adding user feedback
      5m 52s
    6. Applying advanced styling to forms
      8m 11s
    7. Client-side form validation
      4m 17s
    8. Validating forms with the Spry Validation tools
      6m 23s
  6. 1h 20m
    1. Understanding the Spry framework
      3m 43s
    2. Defining a data source for use in Spry
      3m 56s
    3. Creating a Spry table
      8m 8s
    4. Using the Spry widgets
      8m 11s
    5. Connecting various data sets
      4m 50s
    6. Understanding Spry widget structures
      7m 1s
    7. Applying custom styles to Spry widgets
      6m 24s
    8. Applying additional custom styles to Spry widgets
      8m 46s
    9. Controlling Spry widget behaviors with JavaScript
      6m 0s
    10. Controlling Spry widget animations with JavaScript
      9m 31s
    11. Creating effects with Spry behaviors
      4m 42s
    12. Hand-coding Spry
      9m 11s
  7. 1h 11m
    1. Creating a base template
      8m 6s
    2. Creating editable attributes
      6m 26s
    3. Creating a new page from a template
      7m 42s
    4. Applying a template to an existing page
      4m 36s
    5. Creating nested templates
      5m 24s
    6. Using repeating regions
      6m 34s
    7. Creating editable and non-editable optional regions
      6m 0s
    8. Using template parameters
      7m 26s
    9. Using template expressions
      9m 59s
    10. Using conditional template expressions
      8m 54s
  8. 54m 40s
    1. Examining XML structure
      2m 44s
    2. Creating an XML document
      9m 9s
    3. Using the CDATA structure
      5m 7s
    4. Creating an XSLT file
      4m 33s
    5. Binding data from an XML to an XSLT document
      5m 6s
    6. Inserting repeating regions into an XSL document
      5m 16s
    7. Creating a client-side XSL transformation
      2m 52s
    8. Styling a remote RSS feed
      7m 29s
    9. Creating a server-side XSL transformation
      5m 31s
    10. Writing XSL expressions
      6m 53s
  9. 1h 2m
    1. Overview of building dynamic websites
      1m 35s
    2. Installing PHP, MySQL, and Apache on Mac
      3m 22s
    3. Installing PHP, MySQL, and Apache on Windows
      3m 54s
    4. Creating a MySQL database
      3m 16s
    5. Defining a testing server and database bindings
      6m 14s
    6. Creating a database recordset
      4m 35s
    7. Adding dynamic content to the page
      5m 14s
    8. Creating repeating regions of dynamic content
      7m 6s
    9. Filtering database records
      7m 39s
    10. Using the Live Preview
      10m 22s
    11. Passing URL parameters
      4m 23s
    12. Dynamically generating links
      5m 18s
  10. 57m 9s
    1. Understanding behaviors
      5m 16s
    2. Installing additional behaviors
      3m 39s
    3. Planning to create a custom behavior
      3m 42s
    4. Examining existing behaviors
      5m 32s
    5. Building a behavior function
      7m 23s
    6. Creating an Action file
      6m 48s
    7. Enabling behavior functions
      9m 1s
    8. Initializing the user interface for a behavior
      3m 9s
    9. Loading behaviors in Dreamweaver
      6m 47s
    10. Testing and debugging behaviors
      5m 52s
  11. 27m 12s
    1. Running reports
      7m 41s
    2. Checking and validating links
      3m 40s
    3. Using cloaking
      5m 42s
    4. Using Check In/Check Out
      4m 3s
    5. Using Design Notes
      6m 6s
  12. 20s
    1. Goodbye
      20s

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